If you’ve recently bought an RV, your imagination is probably running wild with possibilities of your upcoming adventures. The freedom afforded by travel is exhilarating and brings brand new opportunities to your regular life. However, a successful trip involves far more than just putting coordinates into your GPS.
From packing to parking, make sure you consider all potential road blocks to your RV vacation so you can be properly prepared for pleasure cruising instead of impromptu problem-solving.
Pack it up, pack it in
One of the many benefits of RV travel is the ability to bring everything you may need thanks to the extra storage space in which to organize it. While you’re just getting started with this new mode of travel, prepare packing checklists prior to departure and give yourself plenty of time to gather, organize, and store the things you may need.
Don’t bring too many frivolities or you’ll end up feeling overwhelmed and cluttered, but do plan for every outcome. Bring umbrellas or ponchos in case of rainy weather, extra blankets for chilly evenings, a well-stocked first aid kit for accidental incidents, condiments for any possible meal, and extra batteries, chargers, and tools.
Furthermore, make sure everything is stored in a place that makes sense (for instance, categorized by need) so you’re not wasting valuable vacation time searching for stuff. Double-check that all items are secure before your departure – all of that organization is pointless if it’s going to slide out of place once you’re driving.
Practice makes perfect
Familiarize yourself with your RV well before getting out on the road. Find an empty parking lot or a reasonable amount of space and practice backing up, three-point turns, parking, leveling, and stabilizing your vehicle. Continue your training in more challenging areas, such as narrow roads or city traffic. Research a local RV Driver Safety Class for extra confidence.
Also, make sure you know how to work your generator, waste water system, slide-outs, and any onboard appliances. Read your owner’s manual front to back before you go anywhere. The more prepared you are, the more fun you’ll have.
It’s easy to get over-eager to arrive to your ultimate destination. One of the advantages of owning an RV is that you can stop and rest comfortably anywhere, so take plenty of breaks. Some experienced RV-ers suggest aiming for 300 miles or until 3 P.M. in order to conserve your energy, remain fresh while driving, and allow you to actually enjoy the stops on the way to your end destination.
Create a rough outline of your route, but accept delays and distractions, and appreciate where you are versus worrying too much about where you’re going or when you’ll get there. If you find a place you’re interested in learning more about, stay an extra night and make it happen. The freedom of unconstrained exploration is likely one of the reasons you’re traveling in an RV instead of making hotel reservations in the first place, so take advantage of your ability to change plans.
Create your environment
While you probably won’t need much reminding about packing items you’ll need inside the RV and at your destination, don’t forget your campsite decor. First of all, remember to park so that your RV door faces the picnic table – that’s an easy amateur mistake to make. Bring a tablecloth, an outdoor rug, some camp chairs to relax in, lanterns or strings of lights for a soft outside glow, and a deck of cards or some entertainment that promotes togetherness during your downtime.
If you’re arriving later in the day and would rather focus on unpacking than cooking, have a prepared meal ready to serve so you can set-up and unwind.
Your first RV trip can be intimidating with so much to plan and all the new information you need to know. It’s inevitable you’ll learn some lessons through experience, but with proper preparation and education, you can save yourself some time, trouble, and expense. Make checklists, familiarize yourself with your vehicle and its systems, research routes and destinations, and remember that your ultimate goal is to relax, explore, and have fun in your new recreational vehicle.
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